A familiar name has retained the crown as the nation’s best wireless carrier. The top rank comes from what’s being called the “most comprehensive” study of wireless service.

Every year, Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) conducts “consumer experience” tests in more than 500 markets representing 94% of the nation’s population. The study also looked at how the wireless carriers are prepping for the coming of 5G.

The nation’s four largest wireless carriers were in the running for the top spot. We’ll tell you which company won and why.

And the wireless winner is …

AT&T was named the nation’s best network of 2019 by Global Wireless Solutions. It also took the top prize in 2018. AT&T won by having the best overall score, but some of the other major carriers won a few individual categories.

In the overall scoring, AT&T was followed by Verizon in second place, T-Mobile in third and Sprint in fourth place. The GWS tests looked at voice, packet data, video, coverage and reliability metrics in deciding the overall score.

Verizon came in first place in OpenSignal’s January ranking. The company, which maps wireless coverage, ranked the top four carriers on 4G availability, video experience, download speeds, upload speeds and latency experience.

Latency is a network’s response time and it measures how long it takes for the data to travel between the source and the destination. In OpenSignal’s overall ranking, Verizon was followed by T-Mobile in second place, AT&T in third and Sprint in fourth.

A closer look at GWS rankings

In its rankings, GWS found that all of the carriers were “improving, expanding and deploying new technologies.” Here are the rankings per individual categories:

Download Speed – AT&T is the fastest in downloading such data as photos, app-related content and videos.

Upload Speed – Verizon took first place in this category for being the fastest carrier in uploading videos, photos and other social media content.

Capacity Stress Test – AT&T showed the fastest throughputs.

Video Streaming – AT&T provided the best video quality, quickest loading time and least amount of rebuffering.

Voice Calls – AT&T was tops for having more calls go through and having the least amount of calls dropped. T-Mobile was ranked No. 1 in best voice quality on calls made.

Sprint, which is merging with T-Mobile, is the only network to not finish first in any of the voice and data tests. During its testing, GWS recorded that it observed greater deployment and use of advanced features by network operators as they prepare for 5G.

5G is finally becoming a reality, but it’s still got a long way to go

Pop the champagne corks, because the next-generation 5G mobile network is finally here! Well, kind of. It’s in a few cities. And it only works if you have this one phone.